December 21, 2021 at 10:59 am EST welcomes the Sun to Capricorn I — the winter Solstice arrives simultaneously with the decan that Austin Coppock called A Headless Body — the realm where our souls forget their connection to the divine, and lose themselves in the bodily pleasures of food and drink, intoxicants, sex, and sensation.
That’s not bad, by the way. That’s part of what souls are supposed to do. That’s the way we’re built. Our souls are eternal, and we’re creatures of infinite potential. But it’s a bad idea to try to be dwelling in the infinite when you’re also trying to understand what it means to have flesh and blood, and a body, and two thumbs…
Jupiter is the administrator of the first decan of Capricorn. The mighty benefic is in fall in Capricorn — which is to say, a place of great difficulty. The traditional description of astrological fall is “a man under house arrest in the house of a sick man.” During a pandemic, we all have a sense of what it is to be in fall all the time — unable to leave home for more than short stretches, limited in who we can see and what we can do, raging against confinement and limitation, and perhaps eager to cause trouble for those around us who appear to be our gaolers… but in truth more likely to be fellow-prisoners, co-partners in the limited forms of life within the walls.
Jupiter is thus a perfect metaphor for the ten days between Solstice and the New Year, the expansive and generous power that nonetheless knows his limits. How many of us struggle with holiday gift-giving and planning, where the question of funding the end-of-year splurges of presents and traditional foods drives us mad, but the thought of going without the merry-making is unbearable, too. Jupiter doesn’t like staying within limits — but in a Saturn-ruled sign like Capricorn there are limitations of both body and soul, bank account and supply-and-demand: the $300-per-ounce caviare is probably beyond your budget, no matter how good it might taste…. but a few (or a few dozen) of aunt Mabel’s sugar-cinnamon cookies probably won’t kill you. It might even remind you of the few times that uncle Fred wasn’t a complete jerk, bringing abhorrent political opinions to Christmas Eve dinner. Nonetheless, that mix of weary comedy and delicious food, naughty role-play Santa, I’ve been a bad, bad, BAD… and oh, yes, looking at the scale and planning some New Year’s austerity… yeah. That’s Capricorn I in a nutshell.
And yet. The ancient Greeks gave these ten days to Asklepios, the god of healing — and even more ancient traditions gave them to Akephelos,the Headless One, who helped immortal souls forget the Empyrean realms of bliss to live in mortal flesh as human beings. Greek medicine (which survives in the Arabic-Persian medical tradition called Unani Tibb today) regarded the body as ultimately self-regulating, and eager to return to a state of health as soon as possible. Upon approaching the temple of Asklepios with a health problem, a patient would be taken to sleep on a pallet in the adyton. After they rested overnight while somnotropic incenses burned in the hall, the physician-priests would ask them to talk about their dreams, and run through some simple diagnostic tests based on pulse, the color and texture of urine and stool, and diagnose the health problem. The remedies available were not ‘cures’ but restoratives — herbs, spices, and sometimes foods that were intended to call the body back into right relationship with itself. The whole medical tradition involved letting the body do most of the work… and bringing the soul into right relationship with its flesh.
It’s a useful reminder in these next ten days, is it not, that you don’t have to go overboard? Just keep reminding yourself that you are an infinite soul currently having the experience of limited flesh. Aunt Mabel’s cookies are never going to be as good as they are right now…. but there are plenty of other delicious things and wonderful experiences to try, too. Live within your limits, of course. But live.
The Sun is above the horizon, making this a Day Chart. All of the planets are also above the horizon, except the invisible Neptune and Uranus, and the visible Moon. This makes the events of the next ten days more public than private, more interactive and social than internal and personal, and (because so many planets are in the southeast quadrant) more active and energetic than reserved and receptive.
The Moon as the ruler of the night is in her own sign in the fifth house, leading us to have many more bodily pleasures of food and drink than is common. She occupies the Tenth Mansion, the Brow of the Lion, indicating success and recovery from illness, and help in healing. Love between husband and wife is increased by this position, as is the friendship of your close allies and extended relations — however, the trine to Mars suggests that the company Christmas party is likely to be dull or rancorous: consider making a memorable, honorable appearance and then leave early.
Neptune’s ongoing placement in the third decan of Pisces, the Cup of Blood, brings confusion to your personal plans around the holidays and COVID or other illnesses. Get tested before family dinner? Rely on your vaccination(s)? Don’t show up? After a long period of wrestling with this placement, I’ve decided that the answer is “you’re not going to know what the precisely right thing is to do.” Make your best guess based on the mix of information and mis-information that you have, confirm it with a tarot deck or a rune-draw from a bag, and get on with living while you can.
Uranus retrograde in Taurus’s middle decan The Yoni-Lingam in the third house brings upheaval to familial relationships and any friends-with-benefits situations you may have. The square with Saturn suggests that at least one planned get-together will fall apart, and you’ll spend a lonely night someplace that you didn’t expect. Take additional caution when traveling short distances.
The North Node-South Node axis still aligns with Gemini and Sagittarius for now, encouraging you to spend more time at home, chewing on the fruits of your experiences of the last eighteen months, and less time chasing the goals of career and your company’s mission statement. There may be some rancor from that decision due to the Mars placement, but the source of happiness in your life may come from seeking that perfect harmonization of work-life balance. There’s no way you can ever give the office ‘enough’ time to satisfy them… so give up on that, the chart says: more time with life, less for the workplace.
At the same time, don’t ignore duty completely. The Lot of Fortuneis in the decan of Libra called The Blindfold and Sword. You should be aware of your moral and ethical duties to help those less fortunate that yourself(and your potential tax obligations for the previous year, which might be mitigated by charitable giving). Despite Martin Luther King, Jr’s words, the moral arc of the universe isn’t going to bend itself; set your charitable giving to put some trouble in your own way: give to causes that are opposed in some way to your personal privileges, or support projects that you feel are just but would inconvenience you in some fashion were their policy objectives to be achieved.
Mars in the tenth house in Sagittarius puts some fire in your pants to finish something, anything, that moves your career goals forward. It also likely puts you into direct conflict with a boss, supervisor or foreman who has their own managerial instructions — which probably amount to keeping your bonus pay down and your expectations for a raise in 2022 low. For some, Mars here may mean a pre-New Year’s layoff or outright firing; for others it may mean a promotion to a post that turns out to have some unpleasant if not downright toxic chores attached to it. Be cautious and know the full extent of the tasks you’re taking on.
Capricorn hosts the big confab of the season, with Venus, Pluto and Mercury all joining the Sun in the eleventh house. Whenever a stellium of three or more planets appears, it represents those planetary themes coming together to bring about big changes. Here, it’s managing the creative and reconciling intentions of Venus with the really toxic and greedy attitudes of some of your friends, intellectually justifying your own part in whatever community drama may be affecting you, and reveling in all the fun activities your chosen pod has come up with. Yeah… that Capricorn undercurrent is going to make everything seem darkly humorous, as people try to justify big parties during a local COVID spike; or you’ll find yourself wondering why you should even go to this or that event when X and Y will be there and it will cause nothing but drama… and is this person your new romantic interest, or a domineering ass? Is your longtime spouse an ally at these neighborhood parties, or ruining your reputation? Pay attention to the questions that arise in your mind during holiday events, but put them on the back burner for regular re-evaluation over the winter.
Saturn and Jupiter, both direct, occupy the second and third decans of Aquarius, in the twelfth house of loneliness and solitude. Jupiter will leave Aquarius for Pisces — attaining rulership in his own demesne! — by the end of the month and before the Sun proceeds to Capricorn II. However, their combined presence here reminds us that both the natural conditions of the world, and the legal establishment, would prefer you to be isolated and lonely over the holidays. Saturn thinks this would be a better and more perfect world if fewer people touched or got close to one another right now, and doesn’t have the slightest idea (or care) how difficult that might be. Jupiter, on the other hand, seeks to untie and disconnect anything that seems to be prolonging the health crisis and the economic challenges. However, the economic challenges will only be resolved by ignoring the health crisis, and the health crisis will only be exacerbated by pushing economic recovery — so you should expect leaders to make a whole series of contradictory and mutually-exclusive actions that don’t really solve much. Once Jupiter is in its own house of Pisces, it’s likely that there will be some decisive actions that help one way or the other, and manage one problem effectively, even if they don’t resolve the other.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Horoscopes of Decan I of any sign are free to the public; Decans II and III are available to the $3/month tier and above on Patreon.
Pisces: Jupiter is cadent, inconjunct and peregrine. Neptune is present. Loneliness appears to be a strong theme of the next ten days. It doesn’t mean you’ll be alone, only that you’ll feel that you are despite crowds around you. There’s some friendships that feel transactional and greedy, as though your gifts are great and what you receive in return is paltry. Career and job related matters have reached a nadir, and yet you’re aware that it’s only fair that you complete certain projects before the end of the year. Help and favor comes from private pleasures, repeated: enjoy a nap on the couch several days in a row, and let the kids be a comfort.
Aries: Mars is trine and angular, but peregrine. Career matters cause trouble: double-check the amounts on your paycheck against your own record-keeping, and consider past performance. Are you due for a bonus? Did the check come in? You benefit from some solitude, or at least some boundary-setting with friends. The holiday party for your company yields some useful intelligence, but you may also witness or be involved in at least one type of hanky-panky that may be problematic. Extended family may need some financial assistance from you to get through the holidays, but you might also find a young cousin staring in curious horror at your sex toy collection instead… maybe put that stuff away during the family visit?
Taurus: Ruling Venus is trine and succedent but peregrine and retrograde, conjuncting Pluto. Uranus is present. You’re likely to feel mistreated and poorly used by friends and family during the current holidays. Some of it is not them: it’s the ongoing disruptions of Taurus in your life, calling you to new habits — though the Saturn square imposes restrictions of time and space on your efforts to seek new patterns. Entertaining family will be a large portion of the next ten days, but consideration of the fairness of distributed responsibilities will be on the table too. You want to wrangle with a partner over finances, but be aware that there may not be much money unaccounted for, this time of year.
Gemini: Mercury is succedent but inconjunct and peregrine. A partner’s financial and property issues are giving them significant stress and likely causing shortness with friends and allies; give them space to work through these things, but gently engage them around their worries for best results: focusing exclusively on your own needs, rather than your contributions, is not likely to go well. Household and domestic matters are likely to help you think through current issues — but they’ll also keep you fed, intellectually and physically. Don’t expect to get much in the way of personal time during this time, but give some attention to any work-related project that seems to sprawl beyond its acceptable edges. Have you given enough attention to your solo learning projects?
Cancer: Ruling Moon is present. It’s all right to give yourself over to delight and contentment these next few days — being aware that your partner, lover, or spouse will be engaged in a rather more difficult time. Maybe this is the first time they’ve encountered your family as such close range; or maybe they still have job responsibilities that they can’t completely delay during the holiday season; or maybe they’re just workaholics or are finding outlets for anxiety. Yelling at them will solve nothing — your best hope is to provide the right mix of responsibility (“here, we do the dishes tonight as our family chore”) and fun (“let’s go for a walk, just us away from family, before it gets dark”) in the next ten days. You’ll likely find your own wealth in honoring the traditions of familial justice — there might be a cousin or a nephew who needs some correction from someone other than a parent.
Leo: Sun is succedent but peregrine and inconjunct. Your daily habits and routines are afflicted with too much of the same kind of structure, and not enough of the releases and unexpected pleasures you used to enjoy. This is not likely to change much in these ten days ahead. Instead, use the alone time to recover and heal from the difficulties you’ve just emerged from. Engage with friends as part of your daily work — but if you’re single it’s not a great time to initiate a relationship, especially during a boozy Christmas party. Get up and do the karaoke thing at your company Christmas party if you must — a bit of a public stage would do you some good — but a good performance on one song is better than poor renditions of three songs. Belt one out, and then rest on your laurels or take the failure graciously. You’ll have other nights.
Virgo: Mercury is trine and succedent but peregrine. “Others” — whether partners, peers, former or current lovers, or even your known enemies — may come to mind quite organically in the next ten days, and you’ll find yourself wishing that swift arrows rain death or ruin down on people who’ve wasted or your time or energy. You may also find that it’s hard to wrestle with the basic problem described in XKCD comic #386: “Someone on the Internet is wrong.” Try to remember, with practical realism, that it didn’t feel like wasted time or energy when it was happening — that it felt like real and important engagement with lived reality. It’s not to say that toxic stuff won’t arise — you may find yourself reliving troubling experiences from 2013, 2005, or 1997. A focus on being dutiful to fairness will help you fatten your paycheck before the end of the year.
Libra: Venus is succedent but peregrine and square. You have actual responsibility during these last days of December, though the nature of the labor might turn into a sprawling mess like a yeasted dough overflowing its bowl. You’ll succeed in this work, and maybe even have fun. Even though you want to be out enjoying yourself with friends and chosen community, there’s also the chance of bringing home an unwelcome guest of some kind; and there’s a matter of past aggression in your family that might have to be addressed now, too. Some quiet celebrations on your own, and some time in ritual and prayer, would also suit your needs just fine. A partner may face an unexpected and challenging financial issue, that limits your joy during the holidays unless you assist somehow.
Scorpio: Mars is angular but inconjunct and peregrine, and out of sect. You have some self-directed education to pursue, likely around budgeting, business planning, and financial management. If you don’t do this, you may get caught flat-footed by the current transit of Mars through your second house. Tracking your expenses and possessions carefully is a key goal of the next ten days. However, it’s on family relationships, your neighborhood, and friendships that your focus is likely to resolve: you may find a partner’s family more tolerable than your own, in fact. The temptation is to give gifts to everyone and to be extravagant (or at least transactional — swaps of gifts of roughly equal value). But this just where your budget is likely to run off course. Be on the lookout for home challenges, too and work to resolve them through structured plans rather than ad-hoc repairs. Be aware of a tendency to over-consume in the holidays, particularly of intoxicants — this could be a source of trouble this year. You do owe a friend some of your work.
Sagittarius: Jupiter is sextile but cadent, inconjunct, and peregrine. The New Year will see some significant improvements to your home life and household circumstances, and the influence of your family may reach wider than you could have imagined. Both age and law may touch your extended family; you may be aware of how much some aunts and uncles have changed since you last saw them, or how much a cousin has grown. There are significant pressures on your finances, in part caused by being a support and strength to a partner… but recognize that this is an essential part of your partnership for the moment. Your work life is going through some disruption, and you yourself may be trying to get an exercise program off the ground for yourself. Just be cautious about injury… and recognize that fulfilling some tasks for a friend before December 31 may bring you considerable good fortune in 2022.
Capricorn: Ruling Saturn is in his joy, but inconjunct and cadent. Use friends and alliances as a lens for your activities in the next ten days. There are some relationships in need of repair — and others need clearer boundaries and sharper distinctions in your mind, or maybe even on paper. Some of this is knowing where people fit in your personal hierarchy of connections, some of it is hanging out with the people that make you feel smart and happy… and some of it is breaking away from people who make you feel creepy and weird. Put some time on your schedule, too, for quiet time or for professional needs … you will find it hard to carve out that time later, especially as the holidays tend to expand to fill the time available. Financial matters need to be examined, but they’re not the first responsibility. Any sexual encounters you have should be made luxurious and special, as if they were holiday parties just for yourselves, all on their own: twinkle lights, candles, and evergreens have their own magic.
Aquarius: Ruling Saturn is in his joy, present but cadent. It’s easy to look on the holidays from an extremist point of view: this a commercial holiday that destroys the meaning of the season; no one should accept this destruction of their sacred days; how dare you get your particular religious garbage over this time for my family to celebrate together. It’s endless. However, you’ll do best to remember that any holiday has a divine component, and a mortal one; they’re all hybrids of the best that all people can bring to the table together. DO your best to untie the knots of intellectual Scrooging that you may have wrapped around the end of the year; try not to gripe too much at your friends or be too much of a humbug at Christmas parties. Instead, enjoy the overflowing cup of the season, settle in with a glass of eggnog or mulled cider, and relax into the quilted sensuality of the season. It’s hard for you to find happiness at times, but this season, accept that these comforts are a form of love and ease after a challenging year. No one needs to be reminded of the commercialism or the alternative explanations. They want to know you love them and lionize them: save the moralizing for later. For now, give hope.
have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it approaches the midpoint of its third year (I began with Leo I in 2019 ). We’re currently doing a decan walk through some Tarot, astrology, mythology, and magic. If you don’t want to become a regular patron, you can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments, and any column I write after receiving a Ko-Fi donation will be open to the public. You can also schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts, appearing here for the first time! I use Hugh Tran‘s Physis typeface to craft logos for this blog, as well.
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces as the basis of much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me. My own book, A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight, is now available as PDF download from my Etsy website, as is my Almanac for 2021. I follow T.Susan Chang and the Reverend Erik Arneson for insight into Tarot. Any errors in these columns are my own.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can find additional information on the Services and Classes page.
If you want to read some of my other astrologically-oriented poetry, “A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight” contains these smaller collections:
- To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions
- For the Behenian Stars is a collection of hymns to the first/brightest sixteen stars.
- The Sun’s Paces are hymns to the thirty-six Hellenistic-era deities and ascended souls of the Greco-Egyptian Decans-calendar.
- Festae, hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits.